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Summit MetroParks Takes Steps to Grow its Endowment

photo of Summit MetroParks

Summit MetroParks announced today a partnership with the Akron Community Foundation, which means a major realignment of its endowment fund.

The MetroParks’ endowment fund was established in 1991 to make enhancements and improvements to the parks. But the fund has grown little since then. Commissioner Jane Bond says it’s a case of “maintaining” but not “managing” the fund, which is why $3.5 million is being moved to a new account at the Akron Community Foundation. It’s the fifth-largest account there, and Bond says she hopes the foundation will help the fund grow.

“It was not an active, vibrant fund with contributions, with grants. So we needed to say, ‘this shouldn’t be. Because we can do a lot of good with this money, and we need to get out there and do it.’”

The MetroParks will keep $1.2 million for awarding grants at its sole discretion, such as a recent $10,000 initiative in the Yellow Creek Watershed.

“This is a conservancy district that’s just been formed to deal with flooding in the Yellow Creek Watershed area: Bath and abutting communities. That’s been the kind of thing that we want to encourage through grant-making, is to have other organizations step forward and look at issues of conservation and our natural resources.”

Foundation officials will have oversight of park-related grant proposals submitted directly to them, with the MetroParks acting in an advisory role.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.